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When you take the Straight Talk® survey, the first payoff is discovering the styles of communicating you use most often – Director, Expresser, Thinker, or Harmonizer. No one style is better than the others, but it may be to your advantage to play up one style over another, depending on the situation.
You may also wonder whether people from different countries or places of origin prefer certain styles. Imagine someone who likes to get things done—whether it’s building a new product or starting a new company. Now imagine people whose modus operandi is expressing themselves, talking about their ideas and opinions and feelings and experiences.
If a Thinker is considering buying a new computer system, for example, she’ll ask for all the comparative data.
As you might surmise, Thinkers tend to be more cautious than either Directors or Expressers.
Harmonizers are attuned to people’s feelings, and they like to talk about people—not in the same animated or aggressive way Expressers do, but more quietly, with less attention drawn to themselves. In short, Harmonizers are quiet, caring people who express pride in the accomplishments of the team.
One of the earliest efforts at understanding human nature was led by a school of Greek philosophers who maintained that people’s characters were determined by four special “humors.” Each humor was concentrated in a particular bodily fluid.
In this lesson you’ve learned about the four communication styles—a modern counterpart of the four humors. More important, as you begin to appreciate how people see things in four very different ways, you will begin to appreciate how around us revolve four different worlds—the worlds of the Director, Expresser, Thinker, and Harmonizer. Straight Talk® teaches you how to identify your own communication style and that of others, and how to modify your style for strategic results.
Understanding your style of communicating would be relatively easy if you limited yourself to one of the four basic styles. The Matrix can be somewhat confusing at first, but it’s a very useful tool once you understand how it works. If you split the Matrix into equal quarters, or quadrants, then each quadrant illustrates a primary style—Director, Expresser, Thinker, or Harmonizer. Step 1: Your primary style governs your placement in one of the four quadrants of the Matrix.
The Matrix is a very helpful tool because it lets you see the relationship between all sixteen styles at a glance.
This is not to say that the only thing that distinguishes Directors from Expressers is that one filters for facts and the other for feelings. Some people—approximately one in a hundred—are so-called “corner styles.” The four corner styles are Director, Entertainer, Analyzer, and Pleaser. After you read the descriptions of each specific style, it may be readily evident which specific style is yours.
As you begin to familiarize yourself with each style, certain themes begin to emerge about what constitutes a competent communicator.
Once you start to appreciate the full spectrum of styles, you can also begin fitting your colleagues and friends into the Matrix. Quadriga Media Berlin, publisher of Communication Director, is a media company providing content, information and services on communications, politics, media and public affairs.
Communication Director is the official partner magazine of the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD).
Communication Director is the host of the annual European Excellence Awards, which recognises and celebrates achievements in European communications and public relations. Download HOW's Best of Interactive Design Awards to see the best of all past winners from HOW's renowned Interactive Design Awards competition.
I believe when you partner passion and sensitivity with the ability to see combinations that go virtually unnoticed by most, and juxtapose those ideas together in an effort to communicate something that’s aesthetically pleasing, the potential risk for miscommunication and conflict will undoubtedly occur.
DISC is a great tool for learning the behavioral and communication styles of each member contributing to an in-house team. DISC is an acronym that represents the four basic behavioral styles of most people: “D” represents Driving behaviors. After answering several questions about yourself, the assessment will generate over 15 to 25 pages of interesting information about how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you in varying degrees of low and high pressure situations. People with driving personalities tend to be self-starters, thrive on competition, hate routine, fight hard for what they believe, and achieve success by taking decisive steps towards their goals. People with influencing personalities tend to be very persuasive, thrive on social contact, like freedom from control, have excellent people skills and achieve success by persuading others to work with them towards a goal.
Persons with supportive personalities tend to thrive in relaxed, friendly environments, like routine, prefers to work steadily and dislikes deadlines; they have strong attachments to people, places, home and enjoy working closely with members of a team to achieve a goal. People with “C” characteristics tend to be very conscientious, like time to plan, want to do things the “right way” and desires to work within rules and procedures to ensure success in meeting goals.
Learning how each person on your team likes to receive, process and give information based of their natural behavioral style has helped me and each member of my team know how best to communicate with each other.



Ed Roberts is a writer, speaker and award-winning creative director who is an expert at constructing high-performing in-house teams comprised of creative superheroes. Learn to reconnect with real-world dimensional media through both planned and improvised creative projects. We tend to favor two styles over the others, but we have the ability to use any of the styles in different situations.
Expressers have lots of ideas and thoughts going on at once, sometimes so many that the ideas tumble out of their mouths before they’ve had a chance to edit them. They like the process of working through all the details, the nuances, the ramifications and implications.
They play out scenarios in great detail in their minds, thus they’re likely to consider other people’s needs and feelings before acting.
Unlike Directors, who rarely miss a deadline, Thinkers will give themselves “extensions” in order to make sure the project is done correctly the first time. Picture someone who listens to other people’s problems, someone who is steady and dependable, someone who will offer sympathy when your child catches the flu.
They’re focused on the group’s well-being; one of the Harmonizer’s trademarks is being a team player.
By training yourself to identify and understand each style, you’ll quickly learn to appreciate some of the subtleties in people’s communications—the hidden meanings behind their words, the types of things they pay attention to.
Using exercises, surveys, and real-life case studies, Straight Talk® helps solve today's most urgent organizational dilemmas.
However, depending on the situation, you may alternate between one, two, or even three styles.
For example, if the Profile revealed your primary style to be Director and your secondary style to be Harmonizer, then this creates an identifiable pattern of communicating called the Persuader.
In fact, once you instill in your mind a mental image of the Matrix, you can use it to identify another person’s communication style, even if he or she hasn’t taken the survey. You can see how the styles at the top of the Matrix are the most assertive, while those at the bottom are the least so.
Some people set their filters so that more attention is placed on facts; some set them to allow more feelings to come through.
Corner styles occur when a person’s score for one basic communication style is ten points higher than the score for any of the others.
Because they don’t regularly use a secondary, backup style, their communications tend to be less adaptable and flexible. We call these people “blended styles.” A blended style occurs when a person’s high score is identical for two of the basic communication styles. Since then, she has held a number of positions in the group related to marketing, sales and business controlling in Europe. Established in 2000, Quadriga Media’s portfolio includes the management of various associations as well as the organisation of congresses and awards, alongside traditional and corporate publishing. Founded in 2006, the EACD is the network for in-house communication professionals from all fields across Europe.
A jury of leading communicators evaluate submissions in over 30 categories from companies, non-profits, institutions and other organisations.
Creatives are generally a very passionate, sensitive group of individuals who are often misunderstood by the “Suits” that predominate the corporate world. Think of all the potential miscommunications and conflicts that can arise when everyone on the same team is a creative thinker! It can be a fun and enlightening activity, especially when sharing the results of the assessment with each other. It also reveals how you prefer to communicate and how you do and don’t like to be communicated with by others.
The best thing to remember about DISC is there are great strengths and weaknesses in all personality types.
Martha Stewart is a good example of someone who displays high “D” behavioral characteristics.
Oprah Winfrey is a good example of someone who displays high “I” behavioral characteristics. Some styles may strike you as more “male” or “female” – or as more consistent with our traditional stereotypes of male and female behavior. Yet certain cultural tendencies may favor one style over another, and a full appreciation of communication styles must factor in the particular habits of each culture.
But they do talk about goals, about getting a jump on the competition, about the importance of getting the job done. Without the Director’s drive, vision, and decisiveness, the world would be a much more static place. They’re fun to invite to a brainstorming meeting—they’re always coming up with an out-of-the-box idea. The Thinker possesses a marvelously honed ability to focus entirely on the problem at hand—often to the exclusion of the bigger picture.


They like to discuss these details with others, to make sure they’ve considered every angle.
They may miss an occasional deadline, but no one is more superbly equipped than the Thinker to think things through.
At lunch or at a company picnic, you’ll see the Harmonizers sitting together talking quietly—or not talking at all.
How those on the left side are most analytical, while those on the right are the most intuitive.
Some people set their frames so that their responses are more assertive; some set their frames so that they respond with questions.
These challenges are discussed under the description for each corner style in The Sixteen Communication Styles (PDF). For example, a person who scores 35 for both Thinker and Director would be a blend of Investigator and Explorer.
Taking the survey again might slightly alter your score, and thus give you a neater fit within a particular square on the Matrix. You can see how those styles at the top of the Matrix are the most assertive, while those at the bottom are the least assertive. Prior to her current position as senior vice president corporate communications, she acted as marketing manager for Atlas Copco Controls.
Check with your Human Resource manager or corporate trainer and ask them to conduct a DISC assessment with your team. The report will show both your natural behavioral style (how you are at home) and your adapted behavioral style (how you most likely are at work). DISC can help each member of your team confirm things they may have already known and discover new things about their personality and communication style. Mastering better, effective communication is a serious journey, but getting there doesn’t have to be. Save 30% on all sets and receive free shipping –hurry, this offer ends on February 28. Because Directors focus on getting things done, not on people, they can at times appear insensitive—even intimidating. You’ll find them describing what they felt when they bought their first new car, or dreaming up a clever advertising campaign. Often she’ll postpone making a decision until she’s certain she’s got every piece of information she can find—much to the frustration of Directors, who’d like things to move more quickly.
Because they like to please other people, they’ll say “yes” to something even though it would be better all around if they declined. A marker is simply a specific behavior we look for in another person – and in ourselves. But your score the first time you take the survey is typically the truest reflection of your style. The purpose of the Matrix is to help you improve your communications, not to shoehorn you into a particular category or give you a label. How those on the left side are the most analytical, while those on the right are the most free flowing. The great thing about DISC is each person that takes the assessment will be given a framework to minimize their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths.
At the same time, Expressers tend to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, and they’re express great embarrassment once they realize they’ve said something that hurt someone else. They speak warmly and lovingly to other people, who in turn speak warmly and lovingly of them. Typically, this second style is dictated by our situation — the demands of our particular job if at work, the demands of domestic life if at home. And a person who has a blended style can get just as much out of Straight Talk as someone who occupies single square on the Matrix. The need to distinguish between asking pertinent questions and conducting a self-serving interrogation. Now, the folks in finance or sales can be just as passionate and sensitive as the designer or writer on your in-house team. In fact, they’re so animated and expressive when they tell stories that they may make other people feel limp.
Harmonizers may not be decisive or daring, but they keep people working happily together, often in subtle ways.
The value of active listening — paraphrasing what another person says to confirm your understand of the situation.
Understanding these markers is the first step to interpreting the styles of people around you.




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